Human-Induced Famine in Tigray: A Potential Act of Genocid

Dr. Deborah Mayersen

Since the fighting erupted in Tigray in November 2020, there have been serious concerns regarding the commission of mass atrocities. The UN Human Rights Office, senior UN officials and NGOs such as Amnesty International have identified that war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing may have occurred or be underway. There have been credible arguments that the situation may comprise genocide. In late June, the US State Department advised that an assessment as to the appropriate term/s to describe the atrocities was well advanced, but no determination has yet been made public. Since then, however, the crisis has taken a dramatic and deadly turn. The Ethiopian government’s blockade of Tigray has prevented most humanitarian aid from reaching the region. Tigray was already experiencing famine as a direct result of the conflict, and it is now estimated that one person is dying of starvation every two minutes there. Calls by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other senior UN officials to allow humanitarian access have been disregarded. There is a strong prima facie case that this blockade constitutes an act of genocide. The UN, AU, US and other relevant stakeholders should intensely focus on ensuring the Ethiopian government ends the blockade and allows immediate and unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray, in accordance with international humanitarian law and independent of any other developments with respect to the conflict. Read more

Source: IAGS